Double Cone Quarterly
Fall Equinox 2002 -- Volume V, Number 3

The Last Word

Old Gamboa Trail Sign

Following the fires of 1999, a small group of intrepid scholars set out to explore the area along the coast ridge just north of Cone Peak. Aware of the rich history and prehistory of this specific locale, they viewed the brushless aftermath of the conflagration as an opportunity to perhaps learn more about the days of a bygone era, to assemble a few more pieces of the ongoing puzzle. One of them, on a hunch, dropped steeply down the seaward slope into the drainage of the Devils Fork Big Creek, below the point where the Gamboa Trail intersects the Coast Ridge Trail today. There, slightly covered by earth and ash and hidden behind some charred brush, she discovered the vague outline of a rectangular piece of enameled steel. Upon picking it up, turning it over, and dusting it off, the sign above came into view not unlike the unearthed contents of a time capsule.

Those who have read David Rogers' "Brief Land Status History of the Monterey Ranger District" in this issue of the DCQ are aware that the Santa Barbara National Forest came into being in Monterey County in 1919, and wasn't renamed the Los Padres National Forest until 1936. One can imagine the Forest Service employee charged with changing out the old signs for the new simply winging this one off into the brush rather than packing it out. After all, the forest had a new name - what possible good is this sign bearing the old one? Time, of course, has a way of turning trash into treasure.

Addendum, Spring 2004: For another antique trail sign discovery, please see "Trail Signage of Yore Part 2" in the Spring 2004 issue of the DCQ.


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